2004-08-20 / Sports

Surf Update: Short vs. Long Boards In Hurricane Season

By Henrick Karoliszyn Surfing Columnist

By Henrick Karoliszyn
Surfing Columnist

As hurricane season officially began August 1st, the first two weeks of the stretch have revived the ongoing battle between long boarders and short boarders once again. As a friendly surfing war between the monikers; “short boards shred” and “long boards rule,” most of the surfers have been competing for the best waves during the season that is the pinnacle of New York surf. “This is when Hawaii comes to New York”, said surfer John Christian, “That is when us short boarders show we rule the water.”

The long boarders have challenged those who use the short board, which have been generally been known to be better for surfing larger fronts. The long boarders are surging back with their own style to match their rivals. Usually meant for cruising, the long boarders have been carving the bigger waves like short boards, which might have something to do with the way they are manufactured, according to former board shaper, Anthony Curren.

“I made long boards lighter so that they can hang with the short boards, I put more foam and put less fiberglass coatings”, Curren said.

In the past, long boarders have always relied on a strong cut in the wave, but with the newer technology, they do not have to work as hard to move on their boards.  “It is much easier to tear it up,” said Curren of the new design, “The boards are a hundred times lighter than they were fifty years ago.”

Short boards, however, have always been well equipped for taking on the big waves. Recently, the swells have been extremely well, when rideable, since the launch of the season. During the big days, there have been more short boarders riding past long boarders according to Christian.

“It does not matter what the long boarders do with their boards we still are better in the big surf,” Christian said.

As the battle continues, the waves have been either one extreme or the other recently. “I was surfing one day and the next it was all-flat,” said one surfer on hand Thursday afternoon when there were no waves out. On Friday, when Hurricane Charley hit the town of Punta Gorda, pounding the north of Fort Myers, waves were around 7 feet high on 90th street.

According to the National Weather Services, even when the storm was downgraded below a tropical storm at 5 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday, there were over 60 surfers on the water even with the intensity of the storm diminished greatly.

“The weather is crazy,” said surfer, Fred Gustave. “Riding is just so unpredictable. It is exciting.”

With the expectations met so far on a sporadic basis, this week should have a couple of surfing days, but the best ones will be: on Friday from 6 to 9 am, Saturday from 6 to 7 p.m., and on Sunday from 6 - 9 am. and 4 pm to 5 pm.

Monday and Tuesday will be choppy, and Wednesday and Thursday will be small according to the forecast’s latest developments. On the best days, there will inevitably be the most competition for rides.

Although there is no real fight going on between the board riders, according to long boarder Josh Silverman, “It is a friendly, ongoing challenge that will always be out here. That is the fun of it all.”

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